Skip and Display conditions: a common error

Compatibility:IdSurvey 6IdSurvey 7

IdSurvey processes pages sequentially: by answering questions on the first page and clicking the “Next” button, you will be directed to the second page and so on.
You can change the standard flow by using Skip or Display conditions, or both at the same time.

Standard behavior

Skip condition
When you select an answer with a skip condition set, IdSurvey will display the question specified in its condition, ignoring the standard questionnaire flow.

Display condition
Display condition is used to display an object only if a specific condition is true. For example: I don’t want to display a specific page if I answered with a certain option to a previous question.

A common error

Even if you can use both conditions in your questionnaire, it’s important to understand when to use one or the other.

It’s not rare for beginners to swap the two functionalities, expecially if they’re used to pen-&-paper interviews. Let’s see an example.

We have a question on gender: male or female. Then we have two other questions: one only for males and the other only for females. A common error would be setting two skip conditions in the two answers of question one: if the answer is male skip to question 2, if the answer is female skip to question 3.  
This raises an issue: if the respondent answers “male”, he will correctly skip to question 2 when he clicks on “Next”, but he will then proceed to question 3 anyway. This is not an error, because in questionnaire flows and with IdSurvey standard sequential behavior, question 3 is right after question 2.

To avoid this issue we could exclude from standard sequential flow the two pages, by turning off the “Sequential” switch under the “Page Settings” cogwheel button. So if the answer is male, the skip condition will lead to question 2, and question 3 would be ignored.

BUT…there’s a much better and coherent solution!

The best solution is to use display conditions on question 2 and question 3 without setting skip conditions on question 1:

question 2 will appear only if you answered male to first question. 
domanda 3 will appear only if you answered female to first question.  

Since these two conditions can’t be both true at once, each respondent will see only one of them, according to how he (or she) answered to question 1.

This way, you will be sure that questionnaire flow will be correct, and questionnaire programming will be easier and faster.

Please remember that skip condition can be really useful in other situations and that it can be combined to display condition to create really complex flows. 

To learn more on this topic please check the other articles in this knowledge base or in IdSurvey handout.

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